Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko - by Scott Stambach: Book Review

Publishing date: August 9th 2-16
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Page Nr.: 336

It read like a coming of age novel. I liked it, I was curious most of the time where the story will lead. I expected for the character to be emotionally destroyed, but this is because I read about the novel likened to The Fault in Our Stars

I liked the main character, Ivan, but I didn't like Polina. She comes as a breath of fresh air for Ivan, sure, but reading about her and her personality - meh. Of course she had to be bubbly and go over the top in everything she did. I see how this was a good thing for Ivan and for the redundant life of the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children, but looking back I realize I didn't like her that much as a character. As for a "love" between them - I think Ivan was the one in love, while Polina clung to Ivan in her desperate few last months.

Ivan, on the other hand, was a person with many drawers. He looked for ways to make his life bearable at the hospital, and managed to somewhat come to terms with his physical deformity. He was funny and normal, which is always a good thing, if you ask me. 

I am so glad the author chose to write about a teenage boy, and not about a teenage girl. I was clear he knew the ins and outs of a boy's mind. However, one thing I though was not necessary was Ivan and Polina's sexual... moment, should I call it? For some reason it seemed cliche and gave their relationship an ordinary feel. I thought the same about Augustus and Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars, by the way.

The writing of this novel is pretty good, I liked how the author made you feel the grayness of the communist hospital with its seclusion from the world. There were a few characters that didn't stand out to me, but they had their place in the world of the hospital. Some developments in the novel's action were unexpected and I liked them {{spoiler: Ivan is Mikail's son with an ex nurse at the hospital}}. I also liked how the novel ended. {{spoiler: nurse Natalya takes Ivan in her home and cares for him until his death.}}

It was a nice read. At the time I was very interested in reading it, but a few weeks after I finished reading it I am no longer that impressed, although I can't say for sure why.

I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publisher via Net Galley. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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